This article defends the view that having a language just is knowing how to engage in communication with it. It also argues that, despite claims to the contrary, this view is compatible and complementary with the Chomskyan conception of language on which humans have languages in virtue of being in brain states realizing tacit knowledge of grammars for those languages.
This paper explores the relationship between the questioning attitude of wondering and a class of attitudes I call 'epistemic desires'. Broadly, these are desires to improve one's epistemic position on some question. A common example is the attitude of wanting to know the answer to some question. I argue that one can have any kind of epistemic desire towards any question, Q, without necessarily wondering Q, but not conversely. That is, one cannot wonder Q without having at least some epistemic (...) desire directed towards Q. I defend this latter claim from apparent counterexamples due to Friedman (2013) and Drucker (2022), and finish with a proposal on which epistemic desires, particularly the desire for understanding, play an explanatory role in distinguishing wondering from other forms of question-directed thought. (shrink)
In this article, I argue that if tacit knowledge of grammar is analyzable in functional-computational terms, then it cannot ground linguistic meaning, structure, or sound. If to know or cognize a grammar is to be in a certain computational state playing a certain functional role, there can be no unique grammar cognized. Satisfying the functional conditions for cognizing a grammar G entails satisfying those for cognizing many grammars disagreeing with G about expressions' semantic, phonetic, and syntactic values. This threatens the (...) Chomskyan view that expressions have such values for speakers because they cognize grammars assigning them those values. For if this is true, semantics, syntax, and phonology must be indeterminate, thanks to the indeterminacy of grammar-cognizing (qua functional-computational state). So, the fact that a speaker cognizes a grammar cannot explain the determinate character of their language. (shrink)
Beliefs can be resistant to evidence. Nonetheless, the orthodox view in epistemology analyzes beliefs as evidence-responsive attitudes. I address this tension by deploying analytical tools on capacities and masking to show that the cognitive science of evidence-resistance supports rather than undermines the orthodox view. In doing so, I argue for the claim that belief requires the capacity for evidence-responsiveness. More precisely, if a subject believes that p, then they have the capacity to rationally respond to evidence bearing on p. Because (...) capacities for evidence-responsiveness are fallible and may be masked, beliefs can be held in the face of counter-evidence. Indeed, I will argue that our best science of belief supports the claim that evidence-resistant beliefs result from masks on evidence-responsiveness capacities. This account of belief not only allows for resistance to evidence, but provides us with a framework for describing and explaining actual cases of evidence-resistance. (shrink)
The functional theory of boredom maintains that boredom ought to be defined in terms of its role in our mental and behavioral economy. Although the functional theory has recently received considerable attention, presentations of this theory have not specified with sufficient precision either its commitments or its consequences for the ontology of boredom. This essay offers an in-depth examination of the functional theory. It explains what boredom is according to the functional view; it shows how the functional theory can account (...) for the known characteristics of boredom; and it articulates the theory’s basic commitments, virtues, and limitations. Ultimately, by furthering our understanding of the functional theory of boredom, the essay contributes to a better theoretical grounding of boredom. (shrink)
The phenomenal view of thought holds that thinking is an experience with phenomenal character that determines what the thought is about. This paper develops and responds to the objection that the phenomenal view is chauvinistic: it withholds thoughts from creatures that in fact have them. I develop four chauvinism objections to the phenomenal view—one from introspection, one from interpersonal differences, one from thought experiments, and one from the unconscious thought paradigm in psychology—and show that the phenomenal view can resist all (...) four. (shrink)
This paper provides an exposition and defence of Lewis' theory of radical interpretation. The first part explains what Lewis' theory was; the second part explains what it wasn't, and in so doing addresses a number of common objections that arise as a result of widespread myths and misunderstandings about how Lewis' theory is supposed to work.
I have proposed wedding the theories of belief known as dispositionalism and interpretivism. Krzysztof Poslajko objects that dispositionalism does just fine on its own and, moreover, is better off without interpretivism’s metaphysical baggage. I argue that Poslajko is wrong: in order to secure a principled criterion for individuating beliefs, dispositionalism must either collapse into psychofunctionalism (or some other non-superficial theory) or accept interpretivism’s hand in marriage.
(Draft of Feb 2023, see upcoming issue for Chalmers' reply) In Reality+: Virtual Worlds and the Problems of Philosophy, David Chalmers argues, among other things, that: if we are living in a full-scale simulation, we would still enjoy broad swathes of knowledge about non-psychological entities, such as atoms and shrubs; and, our lives might still be deeply meaningful. Chalmers views these claims as at least weakly connected: The former claim helps forestall a concern that if objects in the simulation are (...) not genuine (and so not knowable), then life in the simulation is illusory and therefore, not as valuable as a non-simulated life. Taking up these questions, I argue that in general, the value of social knowledge for a meaningful life dramatically swamps the value of non-social knowledge for a meaningful life. Along the way, I propose a non-additive model of the meaningfulness of life, according to which the overall effect of some potential contributor of value to a life depends in part on what is already in a life. One upshot is that the vindication of non-social knowledge, absent a correlative vindication of social knowledge, contributes either not at all or scarcely at all to the claim that our lives in the simulation might be deeply meaningful. This is so even though the vindication of non-social knowledge does forestall the concern that in the simulation, our lives might be wholly meaningless. (shrink)
In this paper, I identify a central problem for conceptual engineering: the problem of showing concept-users why they should recognise the authority of the concepts advocated by engineers. I argue that this authority problem cannot generally be solved by appealing to the increased precision, consistency, or other theoretical virtues of engineered concepts. Outside contexts in which we anyway already aim to realise theoretical virtues, solving the authority problem requires engineering to take a functional turn and attend to the functions of (...) concepts. But this then presents us with the problem of how to specify a concept’s function. I argue that extant solutions to this function specification problem are unsatisfactory for engineering purposes, because the functions they identify fail to reliably bestow authority on concepts, and hence fail to solve the authority problem. What is required is an authoritative notion of conceptual function: an account of the functions of concepts which simultaneously shows why concepts fulfilling such functions should be recognised as having authority. I offer an account that meets this combination of demands by specifying the functions of concepts in terms of how they tie in with our present concerns. (shrink)
Philosophy of Mind: The Basics is a concise and engaging introduction to the fundamental philosophical questions and theories about the mind. The author Amy Kind, a leading expert in the field, examines central issues concerning the nature of consciousness, thought, and emotion. The book addresses key questions such as: • What is the nature of the mind? • What is the relationship between the mind and the brain? • Can machines have minds? • How will future technology impact the mind? (...) With a glossary of key terms and suggestions for further reading, Philosophy of Mind: The Basics is an ideal starting point for anyone seeking a lively and accessible introduction to the rich and complex study of philosophy of mind. (shrink)
The problem of multiple-computations discovered by Hilary Putnam presents a deep difficulty for functionalism (of all sorts, computational and causal). We describe in out- line why Putnam’s result, and likewise the more restricted result we call the Multiple- Computations Theorem, are in fact theorems of statistical mechanics. We show why the mere interaction of a computing system with its environment cannot single out a computation as the preferred one amongst the many computations implemented by the system. We explain why nonreductive (...) approaches to solving the multiple- computations problem, and in particular why computational externalism, are dualistic in the sense that they imply that nonphysical facts in the environment of a computing system single out the computation. We discuss certain attempts to dissolve Putnam’s unrestricted result by appealing to systems with certain kinds of input and output states as a special case of computational externalism, and show why this approach is not workable without collapsing to behaviorism. We conclude with some remarks about the nonphysical nature of mainstream approaches to both statistical mechanics and the quantum theory of measurement with respect to the singling out of partitions and observables. (shrink)
The book provides an overview of the contemporary discussion of the mind-body problem. This discussion takes its modern form during the 17th century in the works of René Descartes. The book covers the most important points of view in modern philosophy of mind. An important thesis of the book is that contemporary debates are still heavily influenced by Descartes’ arguments, especially those related to the nature of consciousness. (Google translate).
The aim of this paper is to understand the functional role of mental representations and intentionality in skilled actions from a systems related perspective. Therefore, we will evaluate the function of representation and then discuss the cognitive architecture of skilled actions in more depth. We are going to describe the building blocks and levels of the action system that enable us to control movements such as striking the tennis ball at the right time, or grasping tools in manual action. Based (...) on this theoretical understanding the measurement of mental representations and related research results concerning mental representation in skilled action are presented in an overview. This leads to the question how mental representations develop and change during learning. Finally, to consolidate the functional understanding of mental representation in skilled action and interaction, we provide examples how to use the measurement of mental representation in humans to inform technical systems. (shrink)
Functionalism as a philosophical position has been recently applied to the case of emotion research. However, a number of objections have been raised against applying such a view to scientific theorizing on emotions. In this article, I argue that functionalism is still a viable strategy for emotion research. To do this, I present functionalism in philosophy of mind and offer a sketch of its application to emotions. I then discuss three recent objections raised against it and respond to each of (...) them. These objections claim that functionalism is intractable because (i) it does not support a scientifically interesting taxonomy of emotions for experimental settings, (ii) it is inherently teleological, and (iii) it cannot be falsified. I argue that these objections either rely on a simplified version of functionalism as a philosophical position or they pose challenges that functionalists can readily address. Lastly, I conclude by drawing some lessons these objections suggest for a tractable functionalist account of emotions. (shrink)
In this paper I look into a problem concerning the characterization of the main conceptual commitments of the ‘post-cognitivist’ theoretical framework. I first consider critically a proposal put forward by Rowlands (2010), which identifies the theoretical nucleus of post-cognitivism with a convergence of the theses of the extended and the embodied mind. The shortcomings I find in this proposal lead me to an indepedent and wider issue concerning the apparent tensions between functionalism and the embodied and enactive approaches.
In recent decades, several theories have claimed to explain the teleological causality of organisms as a function of self-organising and self-producing processes. The most widely cited theories of this sort are variations of autopoiesis, originally introduced by Maturana and Varela. More recent modifications of autopoietic theory have focused on system organisation, closure of constraints and autonomy to account for organism teleology. This article argues that the treatment of teleology in autopoiesis and other organisation theories is inconclusive for three reasons: First, (...) non-living self-organising processes like autocatalysis meet the defining features of autopoiesis without being teleological; second, organisational approaches, whether defined in terms of the closure of constraints, self-determination or autonomy, are unable to specify teleological normativity, that is, the individuation of an ultimate beneficiary; third, all self-organised systems produce local order by maximising the throughput of energy and/or material (obeying the maximum entropy production (MEP) principle) and thereby are specifically organised to undermine their own critical boundary conditions. Despite these inadequacies, an alternative approach called teleodynamics accounts for teleology. This theory shows how multiple self-organising processes can be collectively linked so that they counter each other’s MEP principle tendencies to become codependent. Teleodynamics embraces – not ignoring – the difficulties of self-organisation, but reinstates teleology as a radical phase transition distinguishing systems embodying an orientation towards their own beneficial ends from those that lack normative character. (shrink)
We suggest a teleological approach to subjective experiencing or phenomenal consciousness. Like living, subjective experiencing is a teleology-constituting mode of being, which is made up of coupled, functional processes. We explicate our notion of a 'teleological mode of being' and distinguish between three different modes: a living (non-sentient) mode of being, a sentient mode of being, and a rational-symbolic (human) mode of being, which correspond to the three levels of soul suggested by Aristotle. These evolved teleological modes of being are (...) characterized by the possession of distinct, hierarchically nested goals and value systems. We argue that the functions of parts and processes within living systems have to be situated within the appropriate teleological frame of reference. Our evolutionary and comparative approach to the mode of being of subjectively experiencing animals clarifies why functions are best attributed to the parts that constitute sentience. Our proposal resolves the problem of attributing functions to phenomenal consciousness, resonates with basic teleological intuitions and distinctions, and corresponds to the modern broad understanding of selection and evolution. (shrink)
According to pure imperativism, pain experiences are experiences of a specific phenomenal type that are entirely constituted by imperative content. As their primary argument, proponents of imperativism rely on the biological role that pain experiences fulfill, namely, the motivation of actions whose execution ensures the normal functioning of the body. In the paper, I investigate which specific types of action are of relevance for an imperative interpretation and how close their link to pain experiences actually is. I argue that, although (...) imperative theories constitute an apparently promising version of strong intentionalism, they cannot provide an imperative content that meets their own criteria of both sufficiency and necessity. I further argue that this issue cannot be solved by impure imperative theories either. (shrink)
A common kind of explanation in cognitive neuroscience might be called functiontheoretic: with some target cognitive capacity in view, the theorist hypothesizes that the system computes a well-defined function (in the mathematical sense) and explains how computing this function constitutes (in the system’s normal environment) the exercise of the cognitive capacity. Recently, proponents of the so-called ‘new mechanist’ approach in philosophy of science have argued that a model of a cognitive capacity is explanatory only to the extent that it reveals (...) the causal structure of the mechanism underlying the capacity. If they are right, then a cognitive model that resists a transparent mapping to known neural mechanisms fails to be explanatory. I argue that a functiontheoretic characterization of a cognitive capacity can be genuinely explanatory even absent an account of how the capacity is realized in neural hardware. (shrink)
Author’s Preface in English: My Two Discoveries and Their Philosophical Significance As long as a person opens his eyes to face this world, he will meet the problems discussed in this book. Is the red color of flowers and the green color of grass displayed in front of our eyes only sensations in our minds or objective existence as the same as we see? Is a color perception similar to or different from a natural light that objectively exists? The further (...) question is: Are red flowers and green grass just our sensations in minds or what objectively exists in the way as we see, or what exists differently from our sensations? As early as ancient ages of Greece, atomists gave us a rather scientific answer. It is said that what objectively exists is only the material world made of atomics. The motion of atomics causes human sensations. Color, sound, smell… are all human sensations, and related to human sense organs’ conformations, and different from those atoms that cause sensations (I will explain why the answer is not entirely correct later). The answer from modern natural science is very similar. However, this answer brings a series of philosophical problems that puzzle us. If red and green colors are only sensations in human minds, why red flower and green grass are not? If a sensation is totally different from the external object or its property that causes a sensation, how can we know the appearance of the outside object itself? The problems brought by atomists are just revealed by the philosophically fundamental questions proposed by Engels, i.e., the question about the relationship between thinking and existence, which includes two questions: the question about the original existence of the world and the question about whether the world is knowable. I know there is a fashionable opinion: the fundamental question in philosophy, or the question about the original existence of the world, is a false question, and the argument between materialism and idealism is meaningless because there are no different sensations or experiences deduced from the affirmations about whether the world is made of matter or spirit. But, I still persist in discussing the fundamental questions in philosophy. This is not because I have some faith and fight for the faith, neither because I have encyclopedical knowledge so that I can provide better summing-up. This is only because I happened to have two discoveries, which force me and also force academe，to review the fundamental questions in philosophy from a new visual angle to get conclusions that accord with natural science better. My first discovery is that idealism, positivism，and materialism (mainly native materialism) all wrongly understand the relationship between language, sensations, and outside objects. In daily life, we define words “red”, “green”, “acid”, “salt”, “soft”, “hard”, “cold”, “hot” and son on actually according to outside objects instead of sensations. The conformability of people’s speaking language cannot ensure the conformability of their sensations (for example, it is possible that two persons conformably say “flower is red and the grass is green” and have opposite color perceptions ). It is unfeasible to reduce the world with red, green, acid, salt, cold, hot, and other material properties into sensations as idealism does, into world-elements as Machism does, or into sense-data as logical empiricism does. It is also unfeasible to affirm that a sensation is similar to a material property as inornate materialism does. This discovery forces me to believe that 1) The world described by daily language is not the natural world, phenomenological world, or presentational world proposed by Kant, neither neutral world or a world made of elements or sense data, but the material world that objectively exists as affirmed by materialism. 2) Atomists in ancient Greece and symbolists, such as Kant and Helmholtz of Germany, are correct in affirming the dissimilarity between a sensation and a material property that causes the sensation. Atomism and mechanical materialism represented by John Locke’s theory affirm that the motion of Atoms or matter causes human sensations; yet, a consciousness and a material property are totally dissimilar. However, symbolists represented by Kant and Helmholtz further affirm that the sensations in organs are only symbols, they are discretional, and there is no certain one-to-one relation between a sensation and a material property. This point of view is called agnosticism. So far, my above conclusion is probably also thought of as agnosticism. However, I happened to have a second discovery. My second discovery is that there exists a skillful mathematical model of color vision——the decoding model 【8～10】, whose principle is similar to the principle of 3-8 decoder in numeric circuits. The model can explain various phenomena of color vision, especially the evolution of color vision, better. We can conclude from the decoding model that 1) A color perception is only a symbol that can continuously vary. 2) A series of color perceptions contain information from external objects since different color perceptions reflect different natural lights, even if a color perception is dissimilar to a material property. 3) The mechanism of color vision was continuously evolving for the requirement of discerning outside objects. The presentational or phenomenological world was involving with the mechanism of color vision involving, by which the objectify theory developed by Feuerbach and Marx can be explained in the way of natural science. The generalized information theory I set up is tightly related to my second discovery. For measuring the information conveyed by color vision, I extended Shannon’s information theory to general information theory, which can measure and optimize sensitive information, as well as the information conveyed by language and forecasts. The results from the generalized information theory are consistent not only with common sense but also with Popper’s philosophical theory. For example, according to this theory, the more necessary an occasional event is predicted as, and the prediction can be proved correct by facts, the more information the prediction conveys; a proposition that is true in any case provides no information; a lie or bad prediction conveys negative information; it will decrease the information we have had to believe a fortune teller is running off at the mouth. There are mainly two kinds of agnosticism. One is Kant’s agnosticism, which affirms thing-in-itself (or objective thing) is unknowable. Another is Hume’s agnosticism, which affirms the relationship between a cause and a result (or objective rule) is unknowable. Marx’s practice-testing theory and Popper’s knowledge-evolving theory can resolve the problem with Hume’s agnosticism. But, about whether the problem with Kant’s agnosticism has been resolved, there are still arguments. Kant would have said that what you have resolved is only the problem about whether the phenomenological world is knowable; however, you still cannot resolve the problem about whether the thing-in-itself, which is totally different from sensations, is knowable. Now, with the help of my two discoveries and new information theory, we can have two ways to prove the thing-in-itself is knowable. 1) We know that the objects described by daily language are knowable. Yet, the objects pointed by daily language are just material objects themselves. So, material objects themselves are knowable, or say, the thing-in-itself is knowable. 2) Although sensations are dissimilar to material objects or their properties, they contain information about material objects. This information can be measured by the generalized information formula similar to Shannon’s information formula. So, the material object or the thing-in-itself is knowable from the point of view of natural science. Moreover, my research concerning lingual information also supports Mark’s practice-testing theory and Popper’s knowledge-evolving theory. So, agnosticism does not fit my standpoint at all. For explaining the relationship between sensations and outside objects and summarizing up my research, I proposed analog-symbolic theory or analog-symbolism, which is based on Darwin’s theory of evolution, the theories of color and color vision developed by Young and many later researchers, and also my theories on color vision and information. The analog-symbolism is also the extension of the relativistic principle from physics to philosophy. It accepts atomists and mechanical materialists’ viewpoint about the relation between the sensation and the outside object (the motion of matter results in the sensation, however a sensation and a material property are dissimilar), affirms and extends Kant and Helmholtz’s symbolism, carries on the relativity thought in Feuerbach and Marx’s objectify theory (for resolving the problem with Kant’s dualism), inherits Lenin and many materialists’ viewpoint that color, sound, smell… objectively exist（against idealism and positivism）. This book has both scientific explorations and philosophical analyses. However, what it provides is very different from a popular scientific philosophy. The popular scientific philosophy is supposed to sum up, and guide science. But my effort is the opposite. I always try to base my philosophy on science. For example, I use a mathematical model of color vision to explain that the sensations are analog symbols, use the information theory to resolve the problems with agnosticism, and extend relativity principle from physics to philosophy. I have unified many very extreme standpoints together in my theory. These standpoints look mutually repulsive to other people, yet from my viewpoint, they are not contradictive with each other but very compatible. The primary purpose of this book is to eliminate the people’s bepuzzlement about the fundamental questions in philosophy. Before writing this book, I wrote another book: “Mystery of Beauty-feeling and Evolution of Demand,” whose primary purpose is to eliminate the people’s bepuzzlement about problems with beauty-feeling and demand. It is also based on some discoveries — about the arising rule of pleasant feelings and avian esthetic interest. These two books respectively discuss the cognitive relationship and motivational relationship between humans and outside would. They are comprehensive summing-up of my many years’ researches. If my effort is not ineffectual, I will be incomparably gratified. Lu, Chenguang . (shrink)
This paper shows why qualia constitute a problem for any theory of mental phenomena. We use the term ‘qualia’ in reference to non-intentional features of mental states which are eminently qualitative, i.e. perceptions, emotions, moods and body sensations. These non-intentional features are usually described as intrinsic, ineffable, infallible, atomic, private, direct and irreducible to the physical. The paper also explains the absent qualia argument which is addressed as a critique to functionalism.
This paper explains the main theses of functionalism about mental states. This view is taken as a response addressed to the metaphysical aspect of the mind-body problem. It is explained what distinguishes functional properties as second-order properties, and how to understand supervenience and multiple realizability. The paper applies these ideas to machine functionalism and analytic functionalism, the two main versions of functionalism.
Recent work on quantum gravity suggests that neither spacetime nor spatiotemporally located entites exist at a fundamental level. The loss of both brings with it the threat of empirical incoherence. A theory is empirically incoherent when the truth of that theory undermines the empirical justification for believing it. If neither spacetime nor spatiotemporally located entities exist as a part of a fundamental theory of QG, then such a theory seems to imply that there are no observables and so no way (...) that the theory can be confirmed. The threat of empirical incoherence can be addressed by treating spacetime and spatiotemporally located entities as emergent. The question then arises as to what the metaphysical nature of this emergence might be. In this paper, I explore a functionalist approach to this kind of emergence in the context of loop quantum gravity. I begin by rehearsing the spacetime functionalist’s account of emergence, clarifying the view along the way. I proceed to sketch out a functionalist treatment of spatiotemporally located entities and combine the two forms of functionalism into a double functionalism, according to which both spacetime and matter have the same functional realisers. (shrink)
In this dissertation, I examine our mental health concepts to see what work they are currently doing as well as what work they could be doing. In 1976, Christopher Boorse stated that the mental health literature is a “web of obscurities” (p. 51). To resolve some of this confusion, I argue that we need to consider the goals we should have for our mental health concepts and then give accounts of those concepts that meet our stated goals. I argue that (...) our goals for our mental health concepts should be twofold: first, we need concepts that will work to alleviate the stigmatization of mental disorder as this stigmatization gets in the way of providing and receiving medical help, and second, we need concepts that will be useful tools for medical practitioners to use in their diagnosis and treatment practices. -/- I begin by arguing that our mental disorder concept is not currently a useful tool for medical practitioners. Moreover, I argue that our mental disorder concept is confused in such a way that it is unlikely that it could ever be a useful tool for medical practitioners. If we cannot give an account of the mental disorder concept that is a useful tool for medical practitioners, then perhaps we can give an account of the mental disorder concept that can be used toward our goal of alleviating the stigmatization of mental disorder. Before we can do that, however, we need an account of the stigmatization concept so that we can understand what our mental disorder concept needs to be alleviating. -/- I argue that stigmatization is a process whereby some entity becomes marked as disgraceful or shameful. This stigmatization process includes (1) an attitude against the entity for reasons found in the social ideology, and (2) acts against the entity. I then argue that acts of stigmatization take two forms: direct stigmatization (where stigmatizors take acts against the stigmatized entity) and indirect stigmatization (where potential victims of stigmatization take acts to avoid becoming victims of stigmatization). With that in mind, we learn that if we are to alleviate the stigmatization of mental disorder, we need to work on alleviating both direct and indirect stigmatization. It is at this point that I argue for a new account of our mental disorder concept that can be utilized to alleviate the direct and indirect stigmatization of mental disorder. With our mental disorder concept redesigned to achieve that goal, I turn to the goal of providing medical help for persons that need that help. I argue that we need to reconceptualize what it means to be a ‘diagnosable condition’ so that we can develop a new framework for diagnosis and treatment that will be more efficacious than our current system. In conclusion, I suggest that we can untangle the current confusion that is the mental health literature by imbuing our mental health concepts with specific purposes and then utilizing them to achieve those purposes as I outline in this dissertation. (shrink)
I analyze a tension at the core of the mechanistic view of computation generated by its joint commitment to the medium independence of computational vehicles and to computational systems possessing teleological functions to compute. While computation is individuated in medium-independent terms, teleology is sensitive to the constitutive physical properties of vehicles. This tension spells trouble for the mechanistic view, suggesting that there can be no teleological functions to compute. I argue that, once considerations about the relevant function-bestowing factors for computational (...) systems are brought to bear, the tension dissolves: physical systems can have the teleological function to compute. (shrink)
In this paper, we evaluate the pragmatic turn towards embodied, enactive thinking in cognitive science, in the context of recent empirical research on the memory palace technique. The memory palace is a powerful method for remembering yet it faces two problems. First, cognitive scientists are currently unable to clarify its efficacy. Second, the technique faces significant practical challenges to its users. Virtual reality devices are sometimes presented as a way to solve these practical challenges, but currently fall short of delivering (...) on that promise. We address both issues in this paper. First, we argue that an embodied, enactive approach to memory can better help us understand the effectiveness of the memory palace. Second, we present design recommendations for a virtual memory palace. Our theoretical proposal and design recommendations contribute to solving both problems and provide reasons for preferring an embodied, enactive account over an information-processing treatment of the memory palace. (shrink)
This paper advances a theory of interactionist mental causation within a non-physicalist property dualist framework. It builds from Chalmers' argument that non-physical experiences can't have causal powers. It reinterprets this as a constraint, then identifies the unique model satisfying it. This has the experience existing passively with physical nature responding actively to it. The paper explores the causal theory presupposed thereby; applies its model to standard property dualism and particulate property dualism ; shows how the model coheres with science; integrates (...) it into a revised functionalist framework having three levels instead of the usual two; explains why consciousness detectors will remain impossible; and argues that dualists should find the model troubling. (shrink)
The role of a functionalist account of phenomenal properties in Keith Frankish's illusionist position results in two issues for his view. The first concerns the ontological status of illusions of phenomenality. Illusionists are committed to their existence, and these illusions would appear to have phenomenal features. Frankish argues that functionalism about phenomenal properties yields a response, but I contend that it doesn't, and that instead the illusionist's basic account of phenomenal properties must be reapplied to the illusions themselves. The second (...) concern is that phenomenal properties would seem to be intrinsic properties of experience, but functionalism has them consist solely in relations. The nonfunctionalist option can recapture the sense that these properties are intrinsic. It can also preserve the intuition that they are causal powers in a robust sense, and thereby, perhaps surprisingly, provide a stronger response to the knowledge and conceivability arguments. (shrink)
It has often been thought that compositional variation across systems that are similar from the point of view of the special sciences provides a key point in favor of the multiple realization of special science kinds and in turn the broadly nonreductive consequences often thought to follow from multiple realization. Yet in a series of articles, and culminating in The Multiple Realization Book, Tom Polger and Larry Shapiro argue that an account of multiple realization demanding enough to yield such nonreductive (...) consequences implies that compositional variation is far less significant for the multiple realization of special science kinds than many have supposed. I argue, in contrast, that even on this demanding account, lower-level compositional variation may frequently support the multiple realization of special science kinds across the systems of interest, and that there is a good explanation for where Polger and Shapiro go wrong in drawing the contrary conclusion. I consider but reject Carl Gillett’s claim that different views about the significance of compositional variation for multiple realization phenomena should be traced to implicit disagreement about the metaphysics of realization. (shrink)
In discussing the famous case of Otto, a patient with Alzheimer’s disease who carries around a notebook to keep important information, Clark and Chalmers argue that some of Otto’s beliefs are physically realized in the notebook. In other words, some of Otto’s beliefs are extended into the environment. Their main argument is a functionalist one. Some of Otto’s beliefs are physically realized in the notebook because, first, some of the beliefs of Inga, a healthy person who remembers important information in (...) her head, are physically realized in her internal memory storage, and, second, there is no relevant functional difference between the role of the notebook for Otto and the role of the internal memory storage for Inga. The paper presents a new objection to this argument. I call it “the systems reply” to the functionalist argument since it is structurally analogous to the “the systems reply” to Searle’s Chinese room argument. According to the systems reply to the functionalist argument, what actually follows from their argument is not that beliefs of Otto are physically realized in the notebook but rather that the beliefs of the hybrid system consisting of Otto and his notebook are physically realized in the notebook. This paper also discusses Sprevak’s claim that the functionalist argument entails radical versions of extended mental states and shows that his argument is also vulnerable to the systems reply. (shrink)
The debate concerning the reality of qualia has stagnated. The dominant functionalist approach to qualia concentrates largely on the filter-strategy as applied to color experiences. The filter-strategy takes color experiences as material-to-be-functionally-filtered under the assumption that qualia as such cannot be filtered. However, despite the speculative efforts made in this direction, the debate between phenomenalists and representationalists remains unresolved. The main idea of this paper is to show that the lack of success settling “the qualia war” has to be understood (...) as a result of the mischaracterization of colors as a material-to-be-functionally-filtered. (shrink)
Defending or attacking either functionalism or computationalism requires clarity on what they amount to and what evidence counts for or against them. My goal here is not to evaluate their plausibility. My goal is to formulate them and their relationship clearly enough that we can determine which type of evidence is relevant to them. I aim to dispel some sources of confusion that surround functionalism and computationalism, recruit recent philosophical work on mechanisms and computation to shed light on them, and (...) clarify how functionalism and computationalism may or may not legitimately come together. (shrink)
In this paper I provide a compelling argument against the thesis that Aristotle’s understanding of the relation between the soul and the body can be construed asfunctionalist, despite some passages that would seem to support such an interpretation. Toward this end, in section I of the essay I offer an interpretation of Aristotle’s account of the soul-body relation that emphasizes the non-contingent nature of the connection between the soul and a specific kind of body, arguing that Aristotle’s account of the (...) soul as the “form” and “actuality” of the living thing, and of the organic body as its “matter” and “potentiality,” shows their necessary relation with one another. In section II, I present the functionalist account of mind, placing especial emphasis on its post-Cartesian genesis, which takes seriously the “problematic” status of the relation between mind and body. I then attempt to show, in section III, how because functionalism holds that psychic capacities can be realized within a number of different material bases, including physical and artificial systems, it is incompatible with Aristotle’s conception of the necessary soul-body relation, and thus that Aristotle’s account of psuche is not best construed as functionalist. (shrink)
In this article I explore a number of questions that have not been adequately investigated in philosophy of mind circles: are minds located in the same place as the brains (or other computing machinery) supporting them? Must they exist at the same location as the body? Must they exist at the same time? Could a single mind be implemented in multiple brains, or multiple minds in a single brain? Under what conditions might a single mind persist despite being implemented successively (...) in different brains? What contributions do features of the computing machinery make to these questions, compared to the contribution made by the body and embedded point of view? Some of these questions have been touched on previously, but there hasn’t been any attempt at a systematic analysis of the various consequences that different approaches in the philosophy of mind have for how the spatiotemporal location, synchronic individuation and diachronic identity of minds relates to the spatiotemporal location, synchronic individuation, and diachronic identity of both the implementing computational machinery and the embodied embedded point of view. I make a first stab at such an analysis by discussing a variety of thought experiments in which such questions of location, individuation, and identity arise, and I explore how various approaches to understanding the mind – identity theoretic, functionalist, contentualist, embodied/embedded/extended, and so forth – would respond to such situations. A number of novel issues emerge, and some surprising affinities are revealed. (shrink)
What sort of mental state is a delusion? What causes delusions? Why are delusions pathological? This book examines these questions, which are normally considered separately, in a much-needed exploration of an important and fascinating topic, Kengo Miyazono assesses the philosophical, psychological and psychiatric literature on delusions to argue that delusions are malfunctioning beliefs. Delusions belong to the same category as beliefs but - unlike healthy irrational beliefs - fail to play the function of beliefs. Delusions and Beliefs: A Philosophical Inquiry (...) will be of great interest to students of philosophy of mind and psychology and philosophy of mental disorder, as well as those in related fields such as mental health and psychiatry. (shrink)
It is well known that humans represent the mental states of others and use these representations to successfully predict, understand, and manipulate their behaviour. This is an impressive ability. Many comparative psychologists believe that some non-human apes and monkeys attribute mental states to others. But is this ability unique to mammals? In this paper, I review findings from a range of behavioural studies on corvids, including food caching, food recaching and food sharing studies. In order to protect their caches from (...) being pilfered, corvids successfully keep track of observing conspecifics, employ a number of caching and recaching strategies, and exploit environmental factors to reduce the amount of visual and auditory information available to observing conspecifics. When giving food items as gifts, corvids give items for which conspecifics have developed a preference. I argue that the available evidence supports the hypothesis that corvids attribute mental states to conspecifics. I further hypothesize that corvids do so through process-driven simulation and the running of non-verbal multimodal rules accomplished by a class of mental representations called semantic pointers. (shrink)
In this article I argue that two received accounts of belief and assertion cannot both be correct, because they entail mutually contradictory claims about Moore's Paradox. The two accounts in question are, first, the Action Theory of Belief, the functionalist view that belief must be manifested in dispositions to act, and second, the Belief Account of Assertion, the Gricean view that an asserter must present himself as believing what he asserts. It is generally accepted also that Moorean assertions are absurd, (...) and that BAA explains why they are. I shall argue that ATB implies that some Moorean assertions are, in some fairly ordinary contexts, well justified. Thus BAA and ATB are mutually inconsistent. In the concluding section I explore three possible ways of responding to the dilemma, and what implications they have for the nature of the constitutive relationships linking belief, assent and behavioural dispositions. (shrink)
Proper Functionalism ‘Proper Functionalism’ refers to a family of epistemological views according to which whether a belief was formed by way of properly functioning cognitive faculties plays a crucial role in whether it has a certain kind of positive epistemic status (such as being an item of knowledge, or a … Continue reading Proper Functionalism →.
In Natural Minds Thomas Polger advocates, and defends, the philosophical theory that mind equals brain -- that sensations are brain processes -- and in doing so brings the mind-brain identity theory back into the philosophical debate about consciousness. The version of identity theory that Polger advocates holds that conscious processes, events, states, or properties are type- identical to biological processes, events, states, or properties -- a "tough-minded" account that maintains that minds are necessarily indentical to brains, a position held by (...) few current identity theorists. Polger's approach to what William James called the "great blooming buzzing confusion" of consciousness begins with the idea that we need to know more about brains in order to understand consciousness fully, but recognizes that biology alone cannot provide the entire explanation. Natural Minds takes on issues from philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, and metaphysics, moving freely among them in its discussion.Polger begins by answering two major objections to identity theory -- Hilary Putnam's argument from multiple realizability and Saul Kripke's modal argument against mind-brain identity. He then offers a detailed account of functionalism and functional realization, which offer the most serious obstacle to consideration of identity theory. Polger argues that identity theory can itself satisfy the kind of explanatory demands that are often believed to favor functionalism. (shrink)
Most ethical work is done at a low level of formality. This makes practical moral questions inaccessible to formal and natural sciences and can lead to misunderstandings in ethical discussion. In this paper, we use Bayesian inference to introduce a formalization of preference utilitarianism in physical world models, specifically cellular automata. Even though our formalization is not immediately applicable, it is a first step in providing ethics and ultimately the question of how to “make the world better” with a formal (...) basis. (shrink)